Background - My wife and I have cruised 12 times throughout the world. We live in Texas. We pick our cruises based upon the destination and ports. We do not like “days at sea” and we use cruises to see new places, in a short amount of time.
I was looking for a cruise that sailed around New Zealand but I did not want a cruise that crossed the Tasman Sea from Australia. Ponant was the only luxury cruise line that had such an itinerary. The cruise started in Auckland and ended in Milford Sound (and then to Queenstown). Prior to booking this cruise I had never heard of Ponant and the reviews on various sites were not great. Here is my attempt to give more information.
Pre and post cruise hotels – We did not buy the Pre or Post cruise hotel options from Ponant. However, we stayed in the same hotels as these packages and arranged our own transportation to/from the ship, at a fraction of the cost. We stayed pre-cruise at the Sofitel Viaduct Harbor in Auckland. This Sofitel is a very nice hotel located right near the harbor area. We were able to take walking tours of the city, the wharf and the museums. Our cab ride to the ship took about 5 minutes.
405 was the same size as most of the cabins on the ship. Because it was on the 4th level, it was less expensive than the same size cabins on the higher floors. The square footage was about 200 not including balcony. It was smaller than we normally purchase. The key factor for us was the starboard side room. On this itinerary the starboard side saw land much more than the port side.
Auckland is a very beautiful city to begin a cruise. We stayed near the harbor area and did all of our sightseeing by foot.
We rode the Red Cable Car from City Center. We then walked thru the Botanical Gardens and did our own walking tour of the City.